If you’re frustrated by your horse because he doesn’t do what you want, you might ask yourself questions like:
- Why isn’t he listening to me?
- Why does he always have to be such a brad?
- How come he listens to [fill inthe blank/your instructor] and not to me?
Or you catch yourself saying things like:
- He’s been always like this…
- He can’t stop grazing, that’s the way he is…
- I wish he stopped doing that…
Your asking the wrong questions and making the wrong statements!
If you catch yourself in this mindset (and that takes practise!!) turn it around! What all above statements have in common are they are focusing your mind on the wrong things. They are all focussed on what you don’t want. Start focusing on what you do want!
Change your mindset, change your outcome
How can you change this? Let’s take a look to those questions and change them, so that your mind will work for you, not against you. Have you noticed that your mind will fill in the answers?
What answer do you get if you ask yourself ‘Why isn’t he listening to me?’
What happens if you would ask yourself instead: ‘What can I change to make my horse more successful?’ Does that feel different? How does it make you feel?
How about this one: ‘Why does he always have to be such a brad?’
Stop using the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ from now on. Change this one into: ‘What happened today that influenced his behaviour? What can I do differently? What does my horse need (to know, or have) in order to do X?’ Do you feel space to change here?
How come he listens to [fill inthe blank/your instructor] and not to me? Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what the other person does have (or do) that makes her successful. Then do the same thing, get the same knowledge or experience.
Homework: try this out and let me know what you’ve discovered. What are you telling yourself? Could you think of different questions? How did that make you feel?
Fixed mindset vs Growth mindset
A fixed mindset is when you believe that you (or your horse) can’t change. ‘People never change’. A growth mindset on the other hand is one that believes that you can change. ‘Practise makes perfect‘. Here are some suggestions to change the other statements:
- He’s been always like this… -> I can teach train him to do something else, what would be step 1? Who can I ask for help?
- He can’t stop grazing, that’s the way he is… ->What reinforcement is the grass? How can I give him something else he wants?
- I wish he stopped doing X…. ->How can I reinforce the opposite behaviour of X more so that he behaves more desirely? Is there a way to prevent X? Can I redirect his behaviour so it will be more desirable?
What kind of mindset do you have?
If you have a fixed mindset you can still choose to change! If you choose not to, I can’t help you. No one can. Your life will be hard and often miserable. You’ll always be a victim because you can’t change your life and it’s ‘not your fault’. I don’t think people with fixed mindset will make it to here in this blog.
If you have a growth mindset: hooray! You will be able to change you mind and make your life easier and enjoy your horse more. If you need help with implementing this into your daily interaction with your horse, your training of in riding let me know. I’m here for you.
Do you believe you can or can’t ask your horse to stop grazing on cue?
In order to test your mindset and experience this in practise I offer a free training. I picked a common problem, something even experienced horse people like myself encounter: a horse that wants to graze when you’re leading him or won’t stop if you let him have one bite. Sound familiar? Or you just want to join my free training to see what I’m like, how I coach and to learn new skills? Sign up here: Free Grass Training Transformation.
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Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
I help horse owners get the results in training they really, really want with joy and easy for both horse and human. I always aim for win-win!
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